Nine Months of Back Pain

Greetings, my name is Joseph and I am a 21 year old college student from Pennsylvania. I have always been a very active person in both sports and outdoor work. About nine months ago I suffered a back injury at work, which what I thought was just a muscle sprain. I have had numerous back sprains before in my life and never has pain from a sprain lasted more than a week. So when my back pain subsisted after a few weeks after my original injury, I began to get worried.

I went to my family doctor and he told me to begin taking over-the-counter pain relievers. I followed his advice, but the pain and discomfort in my back did not alleviate. Next I went to an orthopedic surgeon to find out if I may have damaged ligaments in my back from the injury. He ordered X-Rays, an MRI, and in the interim, he prescribed me Ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, and gave me a cortisone shot in my back. Then, the X-Rays and MRI both came up negative and showed no observable cause for my back pain. I then began physical therapy, which I still am continuing to this day, for a total of around 7 months off and on. I've been to a chiropractor, a massage therapist, and an acupuncturist. I've had ultrasound, trigger point massages, and electronic stimulation. I've tried ever over-the-counter pill, rub-on, and supplement you can think of as well as numerous other prescribed medications.

As far as my pain is concerned, I have good days and bad days. On the good days my back is close to normal, but I can still detect slight discomfort (it's not really pain on these days; it's more like "my back doesn't hurt, but I still know something doesn't feel right"). On my bad days I get painful back spasms and even the slightest physical activity triggers more pain. There is a small area on the right side of my back that is very sensitive and through massages it can be induced to spasm. I had read a lot about muscle knots and have been told by my physical therapist that these knots may be the cause of my pain. However, as of now I have still not gotten a clear-cut diagnosis for my pain.

My pain has vastly inhibited my social life; I have no motivation to go out with friends or even meet new people because every time I do, I just cannot concentrate on anything but my back. It has made me become very depressed, which I attribute to the back pain coupled with my decreased activity over the past nine months. I have always played sports, enjoyed working out, and participated in various outdoor adventures, but since the injury I have not been able to continue these activities. I have been reading the articles on this website regarding psychological back pain and knowledge therapy as a cure. This is a treatment that I plan to try in the very near future. The thought that my back may in fact be perfectly fine and that the pain is just all in my mind has crossed my path more than once. I am probably described as a very high strung and anxious individual. I have had some very unfortunate calamities in my past, which may have resulted in some repressed emotions. I plan to read both of Dr. John Sarno's books because at this point I'm willing to try anything.

The thought of having to live the rest of my life like this is very unsettling. And moreover, I know that my nine months of pain do not compare to the years, and decades even, of back pain that others have dealt with, but I'm close to giving up because I can't take it anymore! Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening.

- Joseph

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